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I’m spending a little time sharing my testimony on my blog right now. It is a 4 part series. This is the fourth installment if you want to start at the beginning click here. In the first installment, I give a background on what my home life was like spiritually for the first 12 years of my life. In the second installment, I tell the story of how I came to believe in Jesus as the Son of God. In the third installment, I tell you about how I came to accept Jesus Christ as my savior.

I endured my mom and stepdad for only a few more months after that faithful Christmas Eve.My mom's moods started shifting and that awful man wasn’t fulling her as she had expected and she was ready to move on to the next thing that promised to bring her happiness and fulfillment.

Things rapidly spiraled out of control starting in March. I had gone on a trip with my dad and stepmom to-be for Spring Break and while I was gone my mom had spent time with her high school bestie, who happened to be a functioning drug addict. From her, my mom got validation that if this man wasn’t making her happy she should move on to what made her happy.

At this time my stepdad underwent a change of heart and conviction of his actions towards me. He and my mom had a winter home in a city about 3 hours away. He spent the entire winter there for the most part while my mom traveled back and forth because her company was still in our hometown. On his trip back up to our home town for the spring season, he had spent the entire 3 hours thinking of a way to make me cry when he arrived.

At this point, I had settled into an acceptance of the situation and was enduring them with a degree of peace. I had Jesus and I would be graduating high school the following year. I was no longer insulted and offended by my stepdad’s hatred of me. I was no longer shocked at my mom’s indifference. I had found contentment within the situation. I was the queen of my own little kingdom.

My stepdad pulled the horse trailer in the back fence and I met him there to help him unload all of his horses. The first words out of his mouth were the words he had planned and rehearsed for 3 hours “You can no longer park your car in the garage under the apartment, you have to park it over there.” He pointed at the corner of the land furthest from the garage apartment.

“Do you want me to move it now or shall I move it after we are done unloading the horses?” was my response. I could tell that it disarmed him and he looked shocked. He mumbled something about it not needing to be done today and maybe it was okay to leave my car where it was. He unhitched the truck from the trailer and drove off leaving me to unload the horses and unpack the tack room myself.

The next day I received an invitation from him to dinner at the main house. This wasn’t entirely unusual, but it often meant that they were not in the mood to cook and wanted me to make the dinner for them. I walked in prepared to make Taco salad, their favorite meal, but my stepdad had already cooked dinner. I sat down watching him and trying to gauge his mood and figure out what was going on.

At last, he spoke. In a frenzy of words, he confessed to having spent 3 hours the previous day thinking of ways to make me cry. He admitted to intentionally spent the last 5 years trying to make my life as miserable as he possibly could. He apologized, he repented, he explained, and at last, he asked for forgiveness - not that day, but eventually. He said my non-reaction the day before had convicted him and that he had left straight away to go to the pastor of the church and confess everything which he had just said to me and to enroll in counseling and therapy.

I was stunned. I was silent. My mom, however, broke the silence. She exclaimed that she knew it all the whole time and that he was despicable and would be filing for divorce. My mouth dropped open and I looked at her for a long time with so many emotions boiling up inside, but I said nothing. Over the next few months, she dismantled our life with him. Everything I had valued, my horse, my privacy, my freedom, my future dreams, my little kingdom I had built for myself - they were all taken away.

I spiraled into a depression. I started running to numb the pain and thoughts that were warring inside of me. I ran when I woke up, I ran mid-afternoon, and I ran after dinner. I did sit up and crunches in between. I eventually worked my way into running 7 miles a day and 15 miles on, particularly bad days. I was nauseous from my emotions so I stopped eating, though not intentionally. I lost 50 pounds in two months.

I moved in with my dad temporarily while my mom sorted things out and found a new place to live. I was happier there and wanted to stay but I wasn’t 18 and she threatened to get the police involved if I didn’t come live with her. I was defeated and moved back in with her. She was also a mess, but I was unable to take care of her and be there for her as I had when she and my dad had gotten a divorce. 

She sat on the couch for hours every day watching TV and my hatred of her grew. She wanted all of my attention and I wanted to give her nothing. I continued on at church, not the same church, but a church my friends attended. She hated that my attention was given there and forbid me to go and insisted that all the Christian books be disposed of and removed from the house. For the first time ever I outright and deliberately disobeyed her and I didn’t care. I hid the books in my car and continued to go to church with my friends. The most remarkable thing I did in rebellion though was, at last, I opened my bible and I read it for myself.

I started at the very beginning and worked my way to the end. Of course, most of it was over my head. I was in the violence of emotions when I read and I couldn’t take it all in, but it opened the door to me. I could read the bible and not somehow suddenly and accidentally start worshipping the devil.

I turned 18 and I tried to stay with my mom, I felt she needed me, but we were no good together. The contempt on my part and the codependency on her part made for a sick and disgusting relationship, so I moved out. She moved across the country as a result of my moving out. My need to run away and escape faded with her leaving our home town. I was temporarily at peace, and convinced that everything was now okay. Jason and I started dating a few weeks after she left, and our romance was whirlwind having been friends for so long before we dated.

Jason and I got married and moved across the country. I didn’t realize it then, but I was still stuck in my depression. Life was better and I wasn’t running, but I still was very unhappy. I had suffered and it was all for nothing, and I couldn’t make sense of it. I stewed in anger and I hated people. There were a few people I tolerated but mostly I preferred animals to people.

The thing is, my life was so vastly better and different than it had been, at last, there was light when before all I had known was darkness. I couldn’t see that there was still darkness because it was not as dark as it was. I say I was unhappy, and yet I was the happiest I had ever been.

A few years later M was born and at that moment that I saw her sweet little face, I started to soften. I realized that people weren’t as bad as I had thought and that while I loved animals, no pet would ever be as important to me as that little girl. 

I started doing Bible studies with other women instead of my own haphazard reading. I learned about Jesus in deeper ways than you can ever learn from Sunday sermons alone. 

For a time Jason and I attended a church that was very heavy into the idea of prayer. I wouldn’t say they were “name it and claim it”, but without proper follow up and study on my own part I began to buy into this idea that if I had enough faith God would do whatever I prayed. I don’t think at the time I would have identified that in myself, but I was positive that if I asked with enough faith He would move a mountain. I never had reason to pray for a mountain to move so alas all the mountains of the world are still in their God-ordained place.

I believed Jesus was the son of God, I accepted him as my Savior, but I was learning to see him as Lord. You see God was at the beck and call of my prayer whim and His answering was based on my own degree of faith and had nothing to do with His majesty. God’s will was submitted to my level of faith. Oh how differently I would have prayed had I only realized all of this sooner.

As I was working through my anger issues (you can click here to read more about that) I started realizing that all of my anger was coming from things not being as I wanted them to be. My sweet 4th child was a doozy and life was tough with him during his first year. When he was 10 months old I had a moment with a group of women when it all made sense (you can click here to read about it). At last, I submitted to Jesus as my Lord. I learned to bring my hopes and dreams, emotions and fears - all of me - under his Will and not my own.

Do I have everything all figured out? Heck no! It is a daily thing, seeking out Jesus. I’m still on a journey with him - in fact, right now He’s showing me a lot about Faith, Will, and Submission. I hope to be able to blog about that soon, but for now, I’m content learning at His pace.